Mt Salem proud of Dr Andre Haughton
The adage 'Your background does not define you' is a motto the people of Mt Salem in St James hold near and dear as many standouts, both at the national and international levels, hail from the community. Dr Andre Haughton, senior lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, is one such individual.
Haughton is reportedly being considered as the People's National Party's (PNP) candidate for West Central St James. If confirmed by the party, he would replace Raymond Pryce, who was named candidate a few months ago. The constituency is being represented by the Jamaica Labour Party's Marlene Malahoo Forte.
The economist is a big influence in Mt Salem, which is currently a zone of special operations (ZOSO), and continues to be a source of inspiration to many residents.
Example of good
"Dr Haughton is a prime example that Mt Salem has a lot of great people to offer the world," said Floyd Foster, a resident.
"It shows say it no matter where you come from, you can achieve anything you set your mind to through discipline and principle," he added.
Foster, who is the president of the community-based Mandingo Youth Club, knows Dr Haughton from their days growing up as friends at 'Lawson Yard' in the community. Haughton was always focused and determined to make family and community proud.
"Everybody uses different things as a motivation and I am guessing that his motivation was his mom. He just put in the hard work because it took hard work and discipline to achieve the excellence he did," said Foster.
"Remember also that a whole heap of people come from Mt Salem. Check the national team. Back in the day, you have Durrant 'Tatty' Brown and others. So a lot of talent from Mt Salem.
The youths dem deh yah with talent and smarts," he added.
Dr Haughton is deeply involved in the community through his charity organisation, Valley Foundation. He also works with other service clubs in the community that aid youngsters.
"Up to yesterday, mi see him," said one man who gave his name as Gregory Chambers.
"That deh prove say him know himself and where him come from and no try to be like anybody else. If him can do it, then it means any other youths can achieve it the same," he added.
Haughton recently got the award for the UWI Most Outstanding Alumni for the decade 1999 to 2008. This, however, is just one of the many awards the Cornwall College graduate has copped over the years.
After graduating from Cornwall College in St James, he went on to complete a master of science degree in economics, with a scholarship from Thomas De La Rue, at The UWI Mona in 2005.
He then taught at the university for two years before landing the British Commonwealth Scholarship to do his doctorate in economics at the University of Essex, Colchester, in the United Kingdom.
"I try to be a positive example in the community, Haughton told the WESTERN STAR.
"What I want to say to youngsters, particularly those from Mt Salem is that your circumstances don't define you. What defines you is your perseverance," he added.